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The predictors of asthma and lung function deficits in the third decade of life: A longitudinal sibship study

Project Member(s): Darling, A.

Funding or Partner Organisation: National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC Project Grants)

Start year: 2015

Summary: While Australia is among the worst affected countries of the global epidemic of asthma across all age groups, `young adults¿ are the worst affected by international standards. Furthermore, in Australia, asthma deaths are 7-fold higher in the 15-34 than the 5-14 year old asthmatics although hospital admission rates are higher in the younger age group. This discrepancy suggests that 15-34 year old asthmatics may not seek healthcare when needed, which is reflected in the lowest use of asthma action plans in this group compared to all age groups. The 15-34 age group mainly includes `young adults¿ who are making the transition from late adolescence to adult life. Research into asthma in this age group is underrepresented as the focus to date has been on children and adults. Few studies have focused on asthma and lung health in the 3rd decade of life. However, the way in which early life exposures and genetic factors interact with the course of asthma and allergies during childhood and adolescence to determine asthma and lung function outcomes in this critical perioud has not been well studied. Investigation of the causes of asthma and lung function deficits in this transition time is likely to capture risk factors better with the completion of the lung function growth. Our Melbourne Atopic Cohort Study (MACS) is unique among birth cohort studies because of the frequency of data collection that has occurred throughout the first two years of life, and again at 5-7 years, 12 years and 18 years. This will be the world¿s first study to use frequently collected prospective data to investigate how childhood and adolescent psychosocial, biological and environmental markers will predict asthma and lung function in the third decade of life. Our findings will inform health policy and preventive strategies, and be unique not only nationally but also internationally.


Lodge, CJ, Lowe, AJ, Milanzi, E, Bowatte, G, Abramson, MJ, Tsimiklis, H, Axelrad, C, Robertson, B, Darling, AE, Svanes, C, Wjst, M, Dharmage, SC & Bode, L 2021, 'Human milk oligosaccharide profiles and allergic disease up to 18 years', Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vol. 147, no. 3, pp. 1041-1048.
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O'Donoghue, SI, Baldi, BF, Clark, SJ, Darling, AE, Hogan, JM, Kaur, S, Maier-Hein, L, McCarthy, DJ, Moore, WJ, Stenau, E, Swedlow, JR, Vuong, J & Procter, JB 2018, 'Visualization of Biomedical Data', Annual Review of Biomedical Data Science, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 275-304.
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Keywords: microbiome, asthma, atopy, breast milk

FOR Codes: Microbial Ecology, Bioinformatics, Respiratory Diseases, Respiratory System and Diseases (incl. Asthma), Respiratory diseases , Bioinformatics and computational biology, Clinical health